Globevestor invests in early-stage startups across sectors in India and the US. As we meet founders early in their journey, our decisions require some crystal-ball gazing. While we’ve been fortunate enough to have invested in several high-growth startups, we’ve had our fair share of misses, too.
Meesho is one such company that, unfortunately, is in our anti-portfolio. In January, 2016, an angel investor advised us to look at this interesting e-commerce company, which enabled housewives to sell products on WhatsApp and Facebook. The team already had seed commitments from well-known angels, but we couldn’t build enough conviction to back it.
One, we felt they were ahead of time, as consumer purchases on Facebook and WhatsApp weren’t big in India yet. We believed it would surely happen, but only after 3-4 years, and didn’t spot the underlying trends. Two, while we felt that the team was strong, their app was launched only a month earlier and had enabled less than 50 transactions. We believed that there wasn’t enough “execution proof" yet.
We were proven wrong very soon. Within months, Meesho joined Y Combinator and hasn’t looked back since, reportedly raising $65 million in funding and enabling millions of sellers till date.
One key lesson for us from this was to be more open to learning about ongoing trends and market future from entrepreneurs. Another lesson was that if we see a great team attacking a potentially huge opportunity with strong conviction, it’s not prudent to get too hung up on traction.
We’re happy for Meesho’s growth and the success of the angel investors, including some of our friends, who believed in them early. Sincere apologies to the angel who referred us, as he took our decision and passed on the opportunity, too.
P.N. Raju is founding partner at Globevestor.
Anti-portfolio is a section where investors talk about missed opportunities in startup investments.